The Hospital de los Venerables

The Hospital de los Venerables ❤️

Last updated on October 16th, 2023

The Hospital de los Venerables, Velázquez and Baroque Seville

The Hospital de los Venerables in Seville is an old institution founded in the seventeenth century to house elderly priests or those without resources after the harsh years of the plague in Seville.

It is a cultural and artistic treasure of Seville and contains the so-called Velázquez Centre, with paintings by the Sevillian painter himself and other local geniuses. A hidden gem of Seville.

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The Hospital de los Venerables


Keys to the visit to Los Venerables

The Hospital de los Venerables is located in a narrow square in the neighbourhood of Santa Cruz, in a very authentic Sevillian area.

It is a magnificent palace, do not miss the central courtyard.

The small collection of paintings is wonderful: several by Velázquez, Zurbarán, Murillo and other great names of Seville.

The Church is wonderful, pure Sevillian Baroque, of great beauty and with artistic treasures.

On the top floor, there is a small contemporary art museum which isn’t bad at all.

The Hospital de los Venerables is very worthwhile, with great paintings and one of the most beautiful churches in Seville


About the monument

The Hospital of the Venerable Priests of Seville is located in the Barrio de Santa Cruz neighbourhood, very close to the Cathedral, between Calle Jamerdana and the Plaza de los Venerables, served as a residence for priests and suffered plundering during the French invasion, later serving as a parish and Holy Week museum. It was promoted by the important Sevillian character Justino de Neve Chaves, canon of the Seville cathedral.

Justino de Neve, by Murillo

It is one of the large welfare buildings, like the Hospital de la Caridad, that were built in the city after the plague epidemic of 1649.

Plaza de los Venerables
Plaza de los Venerables

It has now been restored by the Focus Abengoa Foundation and is the headquarters of the Velázquez Centre, dedicated to the famous painter Diego Velázquez, and the church also hosts cultural exhibitions and concerts, especially organ concerts. It is one of the most interesting places to visit if you are in the Barrio de Santa Cruz. Let’s take a look at the most interesting aspects for the visitor:


Visit Los Venerables

It is a baroque building of the seventeenth century, designed by Leonardo de Figueroa, surrounded by the houses of the neighbourhood, the exterior is presided over by a belfry that is hard to see.

The temple’s façade stands on Calle Jamerdana. With a door with porticoed access, there is a niche at the top in the centre with the image of San Fernando.

Visitors enter from the side, via a simple door on Plaza de los Venerables presided over by a balcony through which you access the central courtyard.


The Central Courtyard of Los Venerables

Once we pass the lobby and buy the tickets we go to the Central Courtyard, with a mixture of convent and palace. It is a Sevillian patio, decorated with Triana tiles, presided over by a central fountain, and surrounded by galleries under arcades seated on columns. The central fountain is formed by a concentric circular staircase of brick and tiles, at a lower level than the rest of the courtyard, apparently due to phreatic issues. It is the symbol of the monument.

 

 

In the west wing of the gallery you can access the Doña Elvira courtyard and two smaller ones, one with a pond and the other partially arcaded, which leads to the door of the Sacristy, usually closed. The access to the permanent exhibition room: Focus collection, is at the end.

Also noteworthy is the access staircase to the first floor, covered by an elliptical vault decorated with baroque plasterwork with motifs of San Pedro. It highlights Lucas Valdés’ painting of the Presentation of Jesus to the Temple. This staircase takes us to the second body of this courtyard with a gallery that opens to the outside through balconies, decorated with paintings from the time of the construction of the hospital, including those representing Santa Cecilia, and providing access to the Contemporary Art Hall.


The Church of Los Venerables

The deconsecrated church is dedicated to San Fernando (Saint Ferdinand) and San Pedro (Saint Peter), although worship is held on 30 May on the occasion of San Fernando’s feast day, and it is used as a cultural centre for visits and as a music auditorium.

It is one of the most beautiful temples in the city, its main artistic wealth being the paintings that decorate the altarpieces, its walls, its only nave and the vault, works by Valdés Leal and his son Lucas Valdés.

It has a single nave, with a hemispherical transept vault, and is highly decorated on the walls and ceilings with frescoes, paintings with biblical themes, angels and different saints, works by Lucas Valdés, to which are added niches and Baroque and Neoclassical altarpieces with reliquaries.

 

The neoclassical main altarpiece is presided over by the canvas of the Last Supper, by Lucas Valdés.

It is not the architecture that sets the baroque tone, but its decoration, with altarpieces, the latticework of the tribunes, pulpit, mural paintings and vaulting

In the upper part is the Apotheosis of San Fernando, by Lucas Valdés. On each side of the latter, we have the paintings San Clemente and San Isidoro, made by Virgilio Mattoni in the nineteenth century.

In the lower part, the Virgin of Bethlehem from the sixteenth century, and next to it the images of San Pedro and San Pablo and the relief figures of San Juan Bautista and San Juan Evangelista from the seventeenth century that are attributed to Martínez Montañés.

In the presbytery, we can see the paintings of San Fernando handing over the mosque to the Archbishop and the one on the left side shows this king before the Virgin of the Ancient Pontificate. The dome depicts the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. In the lower part, there are paintings of the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin and Child.

In the upper area of the Walls, the paintings by Lucas Valdés allude to the importance of the priestly ministry.


Sacristy

Visit the tile-decorated sacristy, the entrance to which is next to the presbytery. There is a collection of goldsmith’s work, but the most outstanding feature is the fresco on the ceiling, in trompe l’oeil perspective, dedicated to the Triumph of the Cross, the work of Valdés Leal.

Hospital de los Venerables, Sacristy

The trompe l’oeil in the Sacristy is one of the most unique works of art in Seville


The Permanent Exhibition, Focus Foundation

Located on the ground floor, it is made up of twelve works of art, including Velázquez’s “The Imposition of the chasuble on San Ildefonso”, the beautiful portrait of the girl Santa Rufina and a painting attributed to the painter, an Immaculate Conception from the early 17th century. The Portrait of Juan Martínez Montañés by Francisco Varela and works by Francisco Pacheco, Murillo, Zurbarán, Herrera the Elder and the Italian Bartolomeo Cavarozzi also stand out.

Santa Rufina de Velázquez

The Santa Rufina is probably the most important painting by Velázquez that we can enjoy in Seville


Inmaculada by Velázquez

Immaculate of Zurbarán